THE STORY BEHIND LULA CELLARS: PART TWO
In part one of The Story Behind Lula Cellars, we shared how we got our name, the development of the Estate, and the legacy Jeff Hansen created for Lula Cellars. We’re continuing the story and giving you insight into our daily operations, the vineyards, philosophies, and introducing you to our Winemaker, Matt Parish.
Welcoming Matt Parish to Lula Cellars
In June of 2017, we welcomed our Winemaker, Matt Parish, to the team. To continue the legacy of the late Jeff Hansen, we looked to Matt for innovation to produce world-class wines from the Anderson Valley and beyond. Coming from a well-established winemaking background, Matt and Proprietor Ken Avery created a vision that focused on developing award-winning Pinot Noirs and expanding the portfolio. The key to this would be consistency.
Having known Matt for years, Ken knew he wanted Matt as the Lula Cellars Winemaker because of his established background, wealth of knowledge, and priceless experience with vineyards all over the globe. Matt brought a strong philosophy and high standards with him, which further developed Lula’s farming and vineyard management techniques into a more hands-on and technical approach.
It’s All About the Grapes
The first step into Lula’s new journey was to not only farm and manage its on-site estate vineyard in the best way possible but to partner with vineyards within and beyond Anderson Valley, while staying within Mendocino County. We partnered with vineyards that met our new set in place standards: single vineyard, small lot, and proper vineyard management.
Matt placed a significant focus on engagement with the vines and managing the growth and necessary upkeep that the vineyards needed to reach their fullest potential. For Lula, this meant becoming more hands-on with the vineyard crew and spending more time in the vines. Healthy and well-maintained vineyards would be the driving force to the vision we strive to achieve.
The Lula vineyards are single-handedly the most important part of our production. Matt oversees the vineyards with daily management and cover cropping, which has allowed them to replenish nutrients during the offseason. Our estate vineyard and the fruit it produces has never been so healthy.
Lula Cellars Estate Vineyard
In September of 2012, we purchased a beautiful 22-acre property outside the town of Philo on Hwy 128, in the Anderson Valley area known as the “Deep-End.” Our vision was to develop three separate five-acre plantings with 14 acres to a variety of Pinot Noir clones and one acre of Gewürztraminer.
The variety of Pinot Noir clones include Pommard, Dijon 777, Dijon 115, Dijon 667, Dijon 828, and Rescue Block (clone is unknown, but we’ll dive deeper in part three!). Our estate even has two world-renowned French clones, Chambertin and Vosne-Romanée. The diversity of our plantings has led to the estate wines that keep one’s palate wanting more!
Along with the estate vineyard, Matt oversees six properties from where we source fruit. We always ensure that we’re working with the highest quality of fruit while offering fair pay and transparency to not only our partners but our loyal customers. The sites we source from are as follows:
Planted in 1998, Costa Vineyard lies at 600 feet elevation in the mountain town of Comptche in the Mendocino County AVA. The Pommard clone makes up sixty-five percent of this five-acre Pinot Noir vineyard, and the remaining thirty-five percent is planted with the Dijon #115 clone. The geographical location and temperature influence the ripening of the fruit, leading to wines with beautiful aromatics!
Just one mile away from Costa Vineyard, Peterson Vineyard was planted in 2000. This vineyard, located in the Mendocino County AVA, has eight acres with four different Pinot Noir clones—there are two acres of each. Even though there are similar characteristics and growing conditions as the Costa Vineyard, these wines are full-bodied and darker in fruit.
Day Ranch Vineyard
Located in Philo, California, in the Anderson Valley AVA, Day Ranch Vineyard has a 45 year old planting of Beaujolais Pinot clones, which we take about five tons of annually. Fun fact, this is where the fruit is sourced for the Lula Rosé!
Valley Foothill Vineyard
The Valley Foothill Vineyard is located in the Anderson Valley AVA, contiguous with the Day Ranch Vineyard, provides our Chardonnay grapes. Every effort has been made in the vineyard to preserve the delicate floral aromas and flavors by barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation, and extended battonage.
High above the Anderson Valley in the Mendocino Ridge AVA, the south-facing Fashauer Vineyard benefits from long days and warm nights. The older vines are particularly suited to the microclimate, producing a Zinfandel unique to the appellation. Also Unique to this vineyard is that all the vines are head-trained, meaning there is no trellising system. There is a small number of Carignan vines sprinkled through the vineyard that gets mixed in with the Zinfandel grapes at harvest to add to the award-winning flavor of the finished wine from this vineyard.
Pine Mountain Vineyard
This vineyard is situated on the upper western flank of Pine Mountain, about seven miles from Cloverdale and right on the border of Sonoma County and the Alexander Valley. The vines are well adapted to the high-elevation setting and deliver harvests of fruit intense in color and flavor, which leads to a bold Cabernet Sauvignon.
Experimenting and Progression
Lula continues to experiment, innovate, and produce wines for you to enjoy every year. With the way the vineyards have been looking, we have many great vintages in store.
Thanks for reading part two of The Story Behind Lula Cellars. Stay tuned for part three, where we’ll talk about the naming of our wines and the stories behind our labels!